According to official statistics and GDP per capita, Moldova is ranked as the poorest country in Europe. The country, like others in the region, suffered a major economic setback after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Despite some economic growth in recent years, migration for employment and income opportunities is the norm.
Every hour, it is estimated that four people leave the country for a better life. As a result, the population shrinks by approximately one hundred people per day and Moldova’s emigration rate is amongst the highest in the world. Most people emigrate for work, which they find predominantly in Russia and the EU.
Family members, particularly mothers, leave behind partners and children to look for work abroad and send money home. In 2013, money sent home actually accounted for 25% of the country’s entire GDP. Most schoolchildren and almost all university students expect to follow in their parents’ footsteps and leave the country to find work.
Beyond the poor economic situation, there remains another painful hangover of the Soviet Union in Moldova – systematic institutionalisation and discrimination against people with disabilities. These are issues also faced in neighbouring countries and causes to which People in Need (PIN) dedicates itself across the region.
PIN has been working in Moldova since 2003, and currently provides development support to the local population in three focus areas: agriculture and economy, social protection and inclusion, and civil society empowerment and engagement.